Growing up, were you “loved with food,” rewarded with treats, and/or forced to clean your plate every night? On the other hand, was food highly restricted and controlled in your home? Lately, have you been watching a lot of TV commercials telling you to EAT, EAT, and EAT?
For a multitude of reasons, we give food too much importance and power in our lives. False beliefs from our past tend to replay in our minds, telling us to turn to food to meet all kinds of needs. Well, it’s time to change those tapes and replace them with the truth. Here are but a few common examples.
False Belief: Food will comfort me when I’m upset or stressed out.
Truth: It’s superficial, false comfort. There are better ways to cope with stress, disappointment and sadness. God loves me and will show me the way.
False Belief: Eating will numb unpleasant feelings.
Truth: Eating is only a temporary distraction. There is a root issue that needs to be uncovered and addressed or this scenario will keep repeating itself.
False Belief: I just can’t control what I eat.
Truth: Food is not alive and has no power over me. Recovery takes time, work and patience. Through counseling, lifestyle changes and prayer, food’s grip can be weakened.
False Belief: I just ate a giant bag of chips. I’m such a loser! I’ll never change. I just can’t stop overeating.
Truth: I made a mistake, but I can learn from this. Breaking free from overeating is a process that has occasional slips, which do not have to lead to total relapse.
False Belief: I will insult my host if I don’t eat everything she serves me, even if I dislike the food or have already eaten enough to meet my body’s needs.
Truth: It’s okay to politely say no thank you.
False Belief: If I eat one piece of candy, I have blown it, so I may as well eat the whole box.
Truth: This is all-or-nothing thinking. I am not powerless; I can stop eating.
False Belief: I’ve worked hard and had a tough day so I deserve to eat some treats.
Truth: I am trying to reward myself with food when my body doesn’t need it. Instead, I can find non-food ways to treat myself.
False Belief: I need some cookies right now!
Truth: Cookies won’t solve my problems or meet my needs. I can pray and seek God’s strength and guidance to find a better way to deal with my feelings.
Food is meant to nourish and fuel the body–and to be enjoyed! But when we use it to try to meet other needs, we compromise our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Identifying false beliefs about food and replacing them with the truth is a huge step in the process of learning to eat well and live well. We have each been created with the ability to reason and solve problems, but at times, professional counseling is needed to help work through deeper issues. Check out “Finding Treatment” for more information.
The truth: food doesn’t have to wield so much power over us!
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me but I will not be enslaved by anything.” 1 Cor. 6:12 (ESV)